Visa waiver program
Travel without a visa
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables citizens of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. Not all countries participate in the VWP. Some restrictions apply.
Currently, the following countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program:
|Germany||The Netherlands||United Kindom|
A person may be eligible to travel to the United States without visa under the Visa Waiver Program if
- They are traveling for business, pleasure or are in transit (for 90 days or less)
- They are in possession of an integrated chip (e-passport) passport and
- They have obtained travel authorization under the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to boarding the air or sea carrier.
To enter the US under the VWP, each traveler must:
- Be a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program country.
- Have a valid machine-readable passport (MRP) issued by the participating country that is valid for six months beyond your intended visit.
Importance Notice: Depending on when VWP travelers’ passports were issued, other passport requirements will apply:
Machine-readable passports issued or renewed/extended before October 26, 2005 - no further requirements.
Machine –readable passports issued or renewed/extended between October 25, 2005 and Oct. 25, 2006 – digitized photograph on data page or integrated chip with information from the data page.
Machine-readable passports issued or renewed/extended on or after October 26, 2006 – integrated chip with information from the data page (e-passport). Please refer to Travelers Visiting the United States for additional details.
New Requirement: As of July 1, non- electronic emergency and temporary passports will no longer be valid for travel under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Travelers without compliant passports should attempt to attain a visa.
- Be seeking entry for 90 days or less, as a temporary visitor for business or pleasure. You will not be permitted to extend your visit or change to another visa category under the VWP.
- Have a round-trip or continuing ticket on a commercial carrier that has signed an agreement with the US government, and arrive in the United States aboard such a carrier.
- Complete and sign the Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Arrival-Departure Record, Form I-94W, which waives the right of review or appeal of an immigration officer's determination about admissibility, or deportation. You have the right to appeal, however you will not be granted an extension of stay or a change of status. These forms are available from participating airlines, cruise lines, travel agents, and at land-border ports-of-entry.
- Have no visa ineligibilities. This means if you have previously been refused a visa, have a criminal record or are ineligible for a visa you cannot travel on the Visa Waiver Program.
- Entry at a land-border crossing point from Canada or Mexico is permitted under the Visa Waiver Program. Travelers who apply for entry at a land border crossing point are not required to present round-trip transportation ticket or arrive at the border entry point aboard a carrier who has signed an agreement with the US to participate in the Visa Waiver Program. All other Visa Waiver Program requirements apply to such travelers.
When Does a Citizen of a VWP Country Need to Apply for a Visa?
You must apply for a visa under the following circumstances, if you:
- Want to work or study in the United States.
- Have been refused a visa or admission to the US before.
Have been arrested or convicted of a crime.
Have a medical ineligibility.
Fall under the ineligibilities for a visa.
Are a representative of the foreign press, radio, film, journalist or other information media, engaging in that vocation while in the US.
Are a professional performer such as an actor, athlete, musician, or other artist.
Are traveling to the US on a private plane or boat.
What do I Need to Know about VWP & the Machine Readable Passport (MRP)?
The Patriot Act legislated that all Visa Waiver Program (VWP) travelers must have a machine-readable passport. If a traveler otherwise eligible for VWP travel does not have a machine-readable passport (MRP), then the traveler must present a US visa at the port of entry to enter the US This includes all categories of passports -- regular, diplomatic, and official. To read more about the one-time exemption, see the Department of Homeland Security Website.
What Is a Machine-Readable Passport?
A machine-readable passport has biographical data entered on the data page according to international specifications. The size of the passport and photograph, and arrangement of data fields, especially the two lines of printed machine readable data, meet the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization, Doc 9303, Part 1 Machine Readable Passports. If there are questions about your passport, contact the passport issuing agency or authority in your country of citizenship. Below is a data page example of a Machine-Readable Passport.
What Should I Know About Machine-Readable Passports and Families?
A machine-readable passport is required for each traveler, including infants. Machine-readable passports typically have biodata for only one traveler in the machine-readable zone. Each traveler must have his/her own MRP passport regardless of age or family relationships.
President Bush signed into legislation the requirement for Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries to include biometrics in their passports. This requirement came into effect on October 26, 2005. All passports issued after October 26, 2005 require a digital photo on the biodata page, and all passports issued on or after October 26, 2006 require an integrated chip with information from the data page, in order to qualify for the Visa Waiver Program.
Entering the U.S. - Port of Entry
Detailed information about admissions and entry to the US, under the Visa Waiver Program can be found by selecting Admission to the U.S. on the DHS, Customs & Border Protection website.
Is there a Fee?
Travelers are not charged a fee for VWP entry. There is a small filing fee from airlines.
autorization program for U.S.Boud travelers from Visa Waiver Countries
All nationals or citizens of VWP countries who plan to travel to the United States for temporary business or pleasure under the VWP will need to receive an electronic travel authorization prior to boarding a U.S.-bound airplane or cruise ship. ESTA will determine, almost immediately in many cases, if an individual is eligible for VWP travel, and if such travel poses any law enforcement or security risks.
To facilitate the authorization process, DHS recommends that ESTA applications be submitted as soon as an applicant begins planning U.S.-bound travel, and not less than 72 hours prior to travel.
For more information about the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) click here.
Please review the information contained within the website carefully to determine if you qualify to apply to travel without a visa. Prior to requesting permission from DHS to travel with your visa waiver passport, you must first determine if your passport meets all of the requirements to travel without a visa. Please review the information on your left to determine if your passport meets all requirements to use for visa waiver travel. Once you determine that your passport meets the stipulated requirements, then you may proceed to request authorization to travel without a visa.